Thursday, August 19, 2010

Letter to the Editor

If I were to stop what I was doing every time I read or saw something offensive about the community and take the time to respond to it, then I wouldn't have time to live my life. That being said, I think it's important to push the topic, and when I ran across an article in the World section of MSN (now NineMSN) news, that had been flocked (another newfangled social networking thing) 333 times, I figured it was time for a good-ole-fashioned letter to the editor:
Dear NineMSN News,

I recently read your article entitled "Man Dies After Seeing Prostitute is Transsexual." I find that article to be poor news reporting. It implies a connection where there does not seem to be one. A man died of a Viagra over-dose, an occurrence which has been documented before on a number of occasions. The amount he ingested and/or heart conditions he may have had beforehand are not mentioned even though they are probably the most significant factors associated with his passing.

As a member of the transgender community I find this article offensive. It is clearly drawing on the idea that transsexual people are freakish monsters, are sexually undesirable and are deceitful if they do not disclose information about their gender transition. It draw on the fears and biases which lead to the death of hundreds of transgender women (many of whom turn to sex work as a response to prolonged unemployment caused by discrimination) in countries across the world.

If you are interested in doing a story about a transgender person or organization at some point, this is an excellent resource created by a reporter who is also a community leader. Until then, I encourage your reporting team to resist the urge to tack-on irrelevant information about people’s anatomy just because it’s novel.

Please take this article offline, talk to the person responsible for writing it, and refrain from posting half-heartedly researched and blatantly sensationalist pseudo-news in the future.

Sincerely,
Andre Perez
UPDATE: Check out the response I got.

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